A Prayer for When You Are Lonely – Your Daily Prayer – February 15

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A Prayer for When You Are Lonely
By Christopher Eyte

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.” – Luke 19: 1 – 6

When I was in my twenties, I flew from the UK to live in South Africa for some months. I had an amazing time experiencing wildlife in the Kruger National Park, teaching at a school, and learning about the local cultures. One day, I found myself walking alone in a city surrounded by thousands of strangers from a completely different way of life. They didn’t even speak my language. I realized how far I was from home at that moment, and I felt very alone.

Loneliness is an omnipresent disease affecting multitudes. It can take many forms and affects different people in all sorts of ways. Perhaps you sit in an office by yourself all day, staring at a computer screen with no one to talk to. Or you do work with others in an office but still feel disconnected on a personal level. Or maybe you are a mom or dad on the school run. You drop the kids off at school and come home to an empty house with no friends to see. The quietness is deafening. Or you could be someone who sits in a cafe or goes to a bar – anywhere with a bit of color and noise to drown out the empty silence. In days gone by, perhaps you paced the schoolyard by yourself during lunch breaks because you had no friends. Staying in the hospital can also be lonely – finding yourself there unexpectedly and surrounded by strangers, both patients and medical staff. You see other sickly people receive visitors, but no one visits you.

Or it’s possible that you are another Zacchaeus. You have millions of dollars and live in a wonderful house with sweeping lawns, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. People come to your parties because they love your wealth, but you know they’re not real friends. Inside your heart, you feel as sick as a dog from the remoteness. No one knows the real you, and you worry that if they did, no one would really like you. Actually, you don’t have to be filthy rich to feel like this. Our material belongings can mean little if we don’t have the right relationships to give us that sense of belonging in a community.

I wonder what was going through the mind of the biblical Zacchaeus when he lifted himself up from the crowds and hid at the top of a tree. He had no expectations – just a secret wish to see Jesus. Loners can both want attention and hide from the limelight because of insecurity. That’s why this tax collector shields himself from Jesus but makes sure he can see him. And then everything changes. The crowd jostles to a halt as the Lord suddenly stops walking and lifts his head. He peers up at the tree branches and looks right into the heart of this rich, solitary man. Then he calls Zacchaeus to step down from his loneliness and bad ways of living for the simple reason that Jesus desires his company!

Why did Jesus emphasize he ‘must’ stay at the house of Zacchaeus, and why did he put it so pressingly: ‘today?’ Perhaps there is a clue in a parable he once told of a father who sees his prodigal son far away and runs to him. There is an urgency in the heart of God for us to understand he really loves to be with us. When we draw close to him, he is quicker at drawing closer to us! Today, not only tomorrow. The very name of Jesus means ‘God with us,’ and that’s a truth regardless of any feelings of isolation. “And I am with you always, even to the end of time,’ he told his disciples in Matthew 28:20. So, let’s clothe ourselves with cheerful hearts because we are united with the Living God! Now and forever.

Let’s Pray:

Dearest Father,
Thank you that although I may feel alone at times, I’m not really alone because you are with me. The Bible says, ‘God is Spirit’ and ‘God is love,’ and so I can trust in your unseen presence and the joy of your grace for me. You love me, and I am content. Help me to overcome these battles in my mind and give me strength in self-discipline so that I grow in you as I read your Word and spend time in prayer each day. Help me to not feel sorry for myself but instead to reach out to others in your name. My needs are met in you alone – so help me to help others for your sake.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia

Christopher Eyte lives with his wife Céline and three children in Swansea, Wales, UK. He has worked as a journalist for many years and writes his own blog (hislovefrees.life) encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. He became a Christian in February 2002, after a friend explained God’s amazing grace!

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